BRADENTON — Anthony Negrin, 19, died Tuesday at home in west Bradenton after a lifelong battle with a rare blood disorder, Fanconi anemia.
An avid basketball, tennis and violin player at Bradenton Christian School, his fight for life in the past three years attracted the attention of the community, which rallied around him with fundraisers.
Mr. Negrin endured three bone marrow transplants since 2006. Fanconi anemia prevents bone marrow from making life-sustaining hemoglobin for red blood cells.
Family and friends, including his father, Sergio Sr., mother Roxanne, brothers, Sergio Jr., 24, and twins Jordan and Jonathan, 18, grandmother Ana Rosa and family friend Nathan Tuttle were with him at the closing moments of his life.
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During his fierce 24-hour final struggle, his mother begged him to just go to sleep.
“No way,” Roxanne Negrin said. “I wish I could say his death was peaceful, but it wasn’t. He wouldn’t give in. He fought death ’till his last breath. We kept telling him it was OK. But that was not him. That’s why we are exhausted.”
On Sept. 10, he returned home from St. Petersburg’s All-Children’s Hospital and was in tremendous pain. His leukemia had completely covered his bone marrow and was in his liver and spleen, his father said.
The family turned to Guy daSilva, owner of DaSilva Institute of Antiaging, who had volunteered his services for free several years ago. The family had not taken daSilva up on his offer, choosing to go with the more traditional transplant procedures.
“Dr. Guy filled him up with an IV of natural vitamins and he had the most miraculous two weeks of his life,” Sergio Negrin said.
Anthony was able to walk without a cane, eat at Outback Steakhouse twice, go to the mall, even drive his beloved Chrysler Sebring convertible.
“When his brothers saw him cruising in that car, it created the happiest moments we have had in years,” Sergio Negrin said.
Anthony Negrin brought out the best in everyone he met, his parents said.
And even in those who didn’t know him.
During his last days, about 40 workers from area Home Depot stores came to the house and did a garden makeover for Anthony where he could sit and enjoy.
The workers mounted a sign that said, “4-Ant,” which is what BCS basketball players wore on their uniforms during a recent season dedicated to Negrin.
Bradenton Christian School has been tremendous in its support, the family said.
“It’s just amazing,” Sergio Negrin said. “Knowing he was coming on a good stretch, they would let my other kids take off from school, so they could spend a good day with their brother, not a bad day.”
On Monday night, a prayer group from the school came to the Negrin home and prayed outside.
“Anthony asked if Mr. Cunard, the school principal, was out there,” Roxanne Negrin said. “I told him he was. He asked that he come in. Before he came in, Anthony told his brothers that Mr. Cunard was his favorite teacher before he recently became principal. ‘You guys are so lucky you have him as principal,’ Anthony told his brothers. Mr. Cunard said, ‘What can I do for you Anthony?’ Anthony simply said, ‘Mr. Cunard, pray for safe travels.’ ”
Those were among his final words.
A celebration of his life will be held 5 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium of Bradenton Christian School.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.